The Phillies will once again enter a season on the verge of the luxury tax threshold. In fact, they are so close that we probably will not know until the end of the year whether they have eclipsed it. Right now, the Phillies have a projected official payroll of around $170.63 million. But only $166.57 million of that is in the form of guaranteed contracts. Right now, the Phillies are essentially paying two second baseman, since Chase Utley doesn't stop getting paid because he is injured. But if Utley returns and Freddy Galvis heads back to the minors, the Phillies will only be charged for the big league salary that Galvis acrued during his time in the majors (conversely, Juan Pierre's contract is now guaranteed, meaning they will be charged $800,000 regardless of what happens from here on out).
The luxury tax threshold is $178 million, but keep in mind that each team is charged about $10 million for player benefits. So the Phillies are actually sitting at about $180.63 million right now. Again, that number could change. And as we've written many times here, the luxury tax is not a huge deterrent for first-time offenders. In a perfect world, the Phillies would like to stay under. But I don't think they would let the luxury tax prevent them from pursuing a player they covet.
Anyway, here is the breakdown, according to my figures. The first dollar figure is the player's 2012 salary, the second is the average annual value of the player's contract, which is the "official" number that the Phillies will be charged with against the luxury tax. If you want to know what a player will report to the IRS this year, look at the first number. If you want to know what the team will report to the league this year, look at the second number.